Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Trembling Cowards at the Seattle Post Intelligencer

What passes for moral courage at the Seattle PI is known elsewhere as cowardice.

An inborn immunity to irony seems to an essential personality element if one expects to gain work within the mainstream media. And only those who have perfected their native skills need apply at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

In a laughably ironic column this morning, P-I columnist Robert L. Jamieson, jr. portrays his employer as an island of courage in a sea of fear. His evidence is the P-I's refusal to publish the photographs of two men who seemed were behaving suspiciously while riding on Washington State ferries. Washington's ferries have been identified as vulnerable targets for a terrorist attacks.

We live in a republic of fear. And when fear runs rampant, our good sense escapes us.

Photos, which spread across the city and state last week, showed two Middle Eastern-looking men accused of seeming suspicious on state ferries.

A ferry crew member (who took the photos) and the FBI (which released them) didn't lose sleep over the guilt or innocence of the men in the snapshots.

And why should they? The authorities had fear as an ally. They blithely enlisted a fearful public to do their bidding -- to be dutiful patriots and report them.

The two men in question could have been innocents on vacation. Or they could have been mistaken for another pair of dark-complexioned guys seen wandering ferries.

And later:

Fear makes people irrational.

A question in my mind is why ferry officials with previous reports on the two men just didn't call ahead and have law enforcement meet the ferry.

Instead, the feds enlisted the public -- like Orwellian lackeys -- to be the eyes and ears of agents who have wrongly singled out people before.

Ah, the moral superiority of the sanctimonious! The very same people who are not bothered by law enforcement advertisements that encourage people to report suspicions of unapproved discrimination are offended when government asks its people to be vigilent against terrorists.

There is a more likely explanation. The staff of the P-I are cowards. After all, the Seattle P-I was one of the numerous newspapers around the country that reported on the Muhammed cartoon controversy, but would not actually print the cartoons out of fear of provoking violence. (I know, they call it cultural sensitivity, but those of us in the Christian community know that such sensitivities are only extended to those religions that use their children as bombs.)

Mr. Jamieson is still living in the nostalgia that allowed the mainstream media monopolistic control over the message. I don't recall who once originally said it, but I recall when former LA Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda repeated the adage that it's unwise to pick a fight with someone who buys printer's ink by the barrel. That was the old wisdom. With the internet, bloggers can pronounce BS on newspaper and spread their message far and wide. The P-I's editorial decision was steeped in political correctness and fear. It's emblematic of the MSM's decline that they still parade around in the emperor's new clothes, still believing that no one will dare notice.

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